We all love our little furry friends but hate accidentally treading in the mess dogs leave behind. As environmentalists, this brings another question: how does one responsibly dispose of dog poop?
In America alone, 83 million dogs produce about 10.6 million tons of poop every year, yet only about 60 to 70 percent of the owners claim to pick it up most or all of the time. There is no perfect method and a combination of the following might just be what works best for you. Just don’t leave the poop where your dog dropped it.
Unlike cow or horse waste, dog poop is very acidic and cannot be added as a fertilizer to make vegetables grow better – instead, it could burn or kill your lawn, plants. In fact, just disposing of dog poop where it is can be a health hazard, causing both health risks for dogs and zoonotic diseases that can be passed on to humans.
But remember: what works at home in your backyard may not work in public. In this article, we will look at the various ways to get rid of dog poop, such as flushing, composting, burying, etc, and consider their environmental impact.
Dispose of Dog Poop at Home
Bury the Poop if You Can
If you’ve got the space, burying dog poop is a simple and effective way to dispose of dog waste.
Choose a spot away from the vegetable patch and bury it 6-12 inches deep. Make sure to avoid using the same hole twice in one week, dog poop will take at least two weeks to decompose depending on the moistness of the soil.
Compost the Poop
When planned correctly, composting is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of dog poop. A compost heap does, however, need to reach around 71 degrees celsius to break down organic waste.
Create a new composting system using nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich materials, separate from your normal compost bin. Simply follow this guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It is not recommended to use this compost on edible plants – in case the contents haven’t broken down safely.
Start a Wormery
Similar to composting but much faster. Set up one yourself – simply follow the instructions in our article on how to compost in an apartment – or buy one of the various ones available on the internet.
Use it for non-edible plants, such as flower beds or non-fruit trees.
Flush the Dog Waste
Simply scoop it and flush it. The water in your toilet is processed at a sewage treatment plant that removes most pollutants before the water reaches a river or a stream.
There are also special water-soluble bags made of polyvinyl alcohol film that are designed to be flushed. Some say this can block wastewater pipes, however. Check with your local water/sewerage authority to see if they have the ability to process the waste or the bags first.
Dispose of Dog Poop in Public
Opt for Compostable Bags
While biodegradable bags can degrade faster than standard plastic, they can still live on as microplastic. The slightly costlier alternative, compostable bags are typically made of natural non-toxic plant starch.
The reuse of old plastic bags is not an ideal option either for dog waste disposal as alongside potentially also leaving microplastics they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. So the better option is to recycle them at your local Plastic Film Recycling Station.
Compostable bags work best amongst soil or other compost, having trouble to break down in landfill. For best results take home and bury or compost them.
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